Gospel Joy: Avoiding Spiritual Worldliness
|Saint James the Just|
|The Widow’s Coin|
The true remedy St James offers for spiritual worldliness is found in his exposure of the world for what it truly is. ‘The world, and its riches, are like flowers and grass, they bloom but then fade away’ (James 1:9-11). A man is like ‘a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes’ (James 4:14). By the nature of things Christians are to be, in some sense, other-worldly. Their orientation is not to this world, which passes away, but to the world to come.
|Job before the Virgin and Child|
Certainly Job felt deep sorrow, but not for the loss of his material goods. On hearing of the destruction of his livestock he praised God saying ‘naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I shall return’ (Job 1:21). Rather, Job’s pain was caused by what he took his affliction to mean; that he had lost God’s loving favour. Though in fact, his tribulation was a manifestation of the greatest favour. By enduring his undeserved suffering with faith, Job foreshadowed the Passion of Our Lord. By being stripped of worldly goods and honour he became another Christ. So blessed was he that he was given foresight to see ‘that my redeemer lives, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth’(Job 19:25). In his worldly poverty, Job saw ‘what prophets and kings longed to see’ (Luke 10:24).